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Maxine Waters Calls Out Manchin, Sinema Over Congress' Failure To Pass Police Reform

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Sunday said not enough members of Congress are invested in police reform legislation for it to pass, even in the wake of the tragic death of Tyre Nichols.

In an interview with MSNBC’s “Symone,” Waters singled out Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) for being opposed to abandoning the filibuster, which has hindered Democrats’ ability to pass police reform and other legislation.

“They don’t give a darn about this issue,” Waters told MSNBC’s Symone Sanders. “They would rather have the power to determine what happens in the Senate by using their two votes for themselves than anything else.”

The filibuster requires 60 votes to begin and end debate for most legislation before a final vote can be called. Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate, meaning the rule allows Republicans to easily thwart Democratic legislative priorities.

Manchin and Sinema reaffirmed their commitment to the filibuster ― even exchanging a high-five ― during an appearance onstage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this month.

Without that filibuster reform and with Republicans in control of the House, it’s unlikely Congress will heed calls for action after Nichols’ death.

Footage of the attack on Nichols released Friday by the Memphis Police Department prompted protests across the country and a renewed push for police reform.

The video shows officers brutally attacking and pepper spraying the Black 29-year-old while shouting obscenities. Nichols was hospitalized for the injuries he sustained in the Jan. 7 assault and died three days later.

The five officers involved in Nichols’ attack were fired from the department and charged with second-degree murder and other crimes.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed in the House in 2021 but never managed to get through in the Senate.

The bill would expand accountability for law enforcement officers’ misconduct, limit some policing practices, increase transparency and data collection, and set training requirements, among other reform measures.

Waters said she doesn’t see any hope for police reform legislation unless people continue to fight for change and elect officials who care about enacting such laws.

“Nothing is going to happen until the people in the streets continue to protest and to rally,” Waters said.

Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer representing the Nichols family, called on President Joe Biden to reengage the House of Representatives on the issue.

“Shame on us if we don’t use his tragic death to finally get the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed,” Crump told CNN’s Dana Bash during an appearance on “State of the Union” Sunday.

The Congressional Black Caucus has requested a meeting with Biden this week to discuss justice reform.

“The brutal beating of Tyre Nichols was murder and is a grim reminder that we still have a long way to go in solving systemic police violence in America,” Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), who chairs the caucus, said in a statement Sunday.

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